America, “Go Forth”

  • Published in Film

Go Forth - "America"

Go Forth - America

Optimism and patriotism are afoot in Wieden + Kennedy Portland’s new campaign for Levi’s. The agency’s treatment reads, “America is going through a challenging time, but our self-reliant American pioneer spirit will persevere.” Leading the new campaign for the 150-year old brand is “America,” a TV and cinema spot that reaches for the recession-aware heels of “Generation O,” a fairly new term rooted in last year’s campaigning of Barack Obama in reference “Generation Y” or the “The Millennial Generation.” The overall campaign is called “Go Forth.”

“America” debuts this Friday, July 3 at cinemas in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Boston, New York City and Miami. This is the first work since W+K Portland won the Levi’s account in late 2008. The campaign assets also include print work by photographer Ryan McGinley.

The spot is directed by Cary Fukunaga, a graduate of NYU Film and abuzz since winning directing and cinematography awards at Sundance for “Sin Nombre” (2009). The voiceover in the spot features Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) in what may be a recording of him from 1890 reading four lines of his 1888 poem, “America.” In a memo to press, it’s noted that Whitman:

…was an optimist at a time when it was easier to be a pessimist. He lived through the Civil War, one of the darkest periods in American history, and drew strength from the struggle. He saw the potential for greatness that lies in each of us, to flourish in our personal search and build our brave vision of this country. The Go Forth campaign aims to share his words, in TV executions and online, with today’s generation as a small ray of hope.

Certainly on the pulse of today’s generation, but does the anthem resonate this July 4th?


Creative Directors: Danielle Flagg and Tyler Whisnand
Copywriters: W+K Five
Art Directors: W+K Five
Producer: Jeff Selis
Associate Producer: Juliana Montgomery
Account Team: Maggie Entwistle and Tamera Geddes
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff and Susan Hoffman
Agency Executive Producer: Ben Grylewicz
Business Affairs Manager: Teresa Lutz

Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Executive Producer: Danielle Peretz
Line Producer: Joe Mandarino
Director of Photography: Darren Lew

Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Elliot Graham
Assistant Editor: Jessica Baclesse
Post Producer: Neil Kopp
Post Executive Producer: Patty Brebner

VFX Company: A52
Rock Paper Scissors EP: Carol Lynn Weaver
Rock Paper Scissors Producer: Vicki Tripp
Colorist: Angus Wall
VFX Supervisor: Pat Murphy
Smoke Artist: Paul Yacono
Flame Support: Scott Johnson
Nuke Artist/Matte Painter: Shahana Khan
A52 Exec Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall
A52 VFX Producer: Pete King

Sound: “America” poem by Walt Whitman courtesy the Walt Whitman Archive
Music Composer: Owen Pallett and Charles Ives
Artist/Band: Final Fantasy
Album Title: Many Lives 49 MP
Song: The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead (Many Ives Version)
Publishers/Record Company Name: Third Side Music Inc./Peer Music/Third Side Music Inc.

Mix Company: Eleven Sound
Mixer: Jeff Payne
Mixer Producer: Kristin Felt
Assistant Mixer: Ben Freer


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site


[…] (more info) (less info) Want to Subscribe? Sign In or Sign Up now! Related Post: . W+K PORTLAND Creative Directors: Danielle Flagg and Tyler Whisnand Copywriters: W+K Five Art […]

YouTube - Levi's - Go Forth - "America" (2009) #

This is exploitive of American nationalism in a time of crisis to pay $50 for a pair of jeans.

E #

Personally, to say the least, I believe this ad transcends the idea of trying to convince people to buy a pair of jeans. Levi’s shows where its heart is… that it understands that people are people and that ideas are subject to interpretation, and meanings can change greatly depending upon specific situations. You don’t have to buy or wear Levi’s jeans to have their respect as an individual, but rather, in our own lives, dealing with our own situations, Levi’s as a brand may add some value. To me, that’s what this is about….

Roger Darnell #

[…] features the “America” spot I’ve embedded above. There’s a great story on the FWD:labs blog detailing the entire campaign, including highlighting the fact that campaign assets include print […]

A ray of hope from Levi’s and Walt Whitman, courtesy of Wieden+Kennedy : universal positive #

[…] Fast Forward I learn that the Levi’s “America” ad was directed by Cary Fukunaga, who won a […]

Go Forth « American Poetry in the Age of Whitman and Dickinson #

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